SPORT

NFL Star Sent Death Threats Over Divisive National Anthem Protest

21/09/2016 8:16 AM AEST | Updated 22/09/2016 4:53 AM AEST
Michael Zagaris via Getty Images
SAN DIEGO, CA - SEPTEMBER 1: Eric Reid #35 and Colin Kaepernick #7 of the San Francisco 49ers kneel on the sideline during the anthem, as free agent Nate Boyer stands, prior to the game against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium on September 1, 2016 in San Diego, California. The 49ers defeated the Chargers 31-21. (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images)

For his role in spearheading a protest movement and amplifying an ongoing discussion about racial inequality in America, Colin Kaepernick has been rewarded with death threats.

On Tuesday, the 49ers quarterback told reporters, in no uncertain terms, that killing him would only reinforce the importance of his message.

“If something like that were to happen, you’ve proved my point,” he said. “It’ll be loud and clear why it happened.”

Kaepernick has refused to stand for the national anthem before NFL games this season, telling NFL.com, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.”

“To me, this is bigger than football, and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way,” he said. “There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

Kaepernick said he’s received death threats on social media and via other unspecified avenues for speaking out, but hasn’t yet felt the need to alert team security.

If something like that were to happen, you’ve proved my point. It'll be loud and clear why it happened. 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick

The player also wants to demonstrate that he’s not simply protesting for protest’s sake. He’ll donate $100,000 each month for the next 10 months to communities in need, and plans to launch a website so the public can track how the money is spent.

“I’ve been very blessed to be in this position and to be able to make the kind of money I do,” Kaepernick explained during a press conference earlier this month. “And I have to help these people. I have to help these communities. It’s not right that they’re not put in a position to succeed or given those opportunities to succeed.”

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